Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms & Strategies
Arthritis pain becomes more common as we age. Learning the reasons for the discomfort and ways to
relieve it can make an important difference in your day to day well being.
Early Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Identifying the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis is essential to have an early diagnosis
and treatment. While there's no universally effective treatment for the pathophysiology of
rheumatoid arthritis, there are many ways to alleviate symptoms and help the patients to live
comfortably. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease of the immune system that causes chronic
inflammation, that is usually limited to the joints of the body. Listed here are the early signs of
rheumatoid arthritis that most of affected patients experienced.
1. Joint pain. This is one of the very early signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, the pain begins
in the joints of the fingers, wrists, hands, toes, ankles, and feet. Also, the pain is frequently
symmetrical, with both points of the different sides of the body are affected.
2. Joint swelling. Swollen joints and pain may appear and disappear, but normally can be felt for
one hour or more. The affected part might be inflamed, red, and bulging.
3. Bumps. Small nodules or rheumatoid nodules could appear in the areas surrounding the joints.
4. Morning rigidity. Morning stiffness is considered to be one of the signs of rheumatoid
arthritis. The stiffness felt could last for an hour or more. Also, if a person is sitting for more than
an hour, he or she may also experience stiffness,
5. Insomnia. Sleeping difficulties is just a consequence of having a severe pain and rigidity in
the joints of the RA patient. Pain and rigidity of the joints can be triggered if proper sleeping
position is not achieved, especially when the patient goes to sleep at night. This could cause the
patient to wake up frequently at night, which also the main reason for daytime fatigue and
6. Fatigue. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often manifest symptoms like exhaustion and
fatigue due to insomnia. Severe exhaustion might be accompanied by loss of appetite and weight,
and generalize body malaise.
7. Flu-like Symptoms. These could be among the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis in some
patients. Health professionals warned that patients with RA could experience fever, body aches
fatigue, and loss of weight. These signs may continue to be experienced by the patient for
months, and is mostly associated with pain and rigidity in their joints.
It is important to act once the signals of the onset of rheumatoid arthritis are recognized. Talk to
a doctor about what to expect and what steps to take for appropriate short and long term
treatment strategies. There is much to learn about managing your condition.
Understanding What Arthritis Means.
Arthritis is a term that most of us are familiar with, but understanding exactly what it means,
how common it is, and how to minimize the symptoms becomes more important as we age.
Arthritis is simply defined as "painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints."
Our joints connect two or more bones together in places like wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips and
knees. Healthy joints have rubbery cushions called cartilage that allows for flexible and pain free
movements. Some joints can be rotated, while others glide or move as a hinge. In many joints,
the cartilage is surrounded by something called "synovial fluid." There are two main kinds of
arthritis, and the difference between the two types revolves around this critical fluid.
Osteoarthritis is the more common form of arthritis, and according to Wikipedia, it affects over
27 million Americans. This form of joint pain is the result of cartilage being lost over time.
When the cushion is worn down, bones can wear against each other and be damaged. The
symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain,morning stiffness, tenderness, and locking. Once movement
is limited from the pain, muscles can start to atrophy and ligaments can become lax. It is
degenerative, and very common for those over the age of 50, but exercise and nutritional lifestyle
changes can head off symptoms. Following those remedies, analgesics and joint replacement
surgery are the later considerations for osteoarthritis relief.
Rheumatoid arthritis is more complex and serious. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that
primarily affects the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints. The swelling, pain, warmth and
redness surrounding the joints is a result of the body attacking the tissues and membrane that
holds the fluid. It typically begins in the smaller joints of the hands and feet, and while it can
occur at an early age, rheumatoid arthritis most often begins between the ages of 40 and 60 years
old. Advanced stages also show symptoms affecting other tissues and organs of the body,
including the lungs, moderate to severe and fatigue, hard nodules around the joints and of course
joint deformity that can be crippling.
This difficult disease is being aggressively researched in order to find clear answers regarding
the cause, the best ways to treat symptoms, and eventually find a cure for those who suffer with
rheumatoid arthritis. Two things we know for sure is that 75% of patients with this disease are
women and unfortunately there is no cure.
Exercise the Right Way
Both forms of arthritis can be helped through the right kinds and amounts of exercise. The goal
of the exercise is to maintain muscle tone through low impact movements and stretching and to
prevent further joint damage. Gentle weight bearing activities, swimming and walking are good
for flexibility, keeping muscles, ligaments and tendons functional, and for slowing down bone
erosion and joint deformation. Occupational and/or physical therapists can create specific plans
targeted for your individual needs.
Other ways to keep arthritis symptoms at bay can be found in the application of heat to relax
muscles, and the application of cold to numb pain. Learn relaxation techniques and homeopathic
remedies that you can add to your daily routine as needed. Your doctor can inform you about the
wide variety of options for medication and surgery. There are many medical treatments for
arthritis that require careful consideration concerning their benefits, side effects, and cost.
Outsmart Aging Now
For those who are willing to start a lifestyle change before the onset of symptoms, there are
several important things that you can try. They are the tried and true suggestions for overall good
health: Begin exercising and eating with joint health in mind, and control your weight. While
arthritis may be in the cards for many of us as we age, we can do what we can to take charge of
our destinies with proactive and preventative changes. You can begin to feel better now and live
with less pain as you get older!
Managing RA Requires Help
Rheumatoid Arthritis presents challenges far beyond physical pain and fatigue. It is a disease that
requires a tenacious and positive mindset along with great attention to detail concerning
medications, diet, and activity.
A Doctor Is Not Optional
First and foremost, those who suffer with RA need to receive comprehensive care from a
rheumatologist. Every case is like a puzzle, and a specialist can oversee all of the pieces required
to best manage your particular situation. Rheumatoid Arthritis requires specific medications that
need to be taken with regularity and precision on good days and bad. It is very important to keep
all appointments and ask your doctor for advice regarding other medications, supplements and
foods that will work with your prescriptions and not cancel them out or create adverse side
effects. A rheumatologist will be able to help you steer your course for the long term, while you
can relax and focus on making every day good.
There Is Not One Size Fits All RA Diet
Diet considerations are important for you to discuss with your doctor. He or she can give you the
green light for specific foods that are good for bone health or cartilage, can build red blood cells,
and even reduce swelling and tenderness. The doctor will also know whether supplements or real
food would be the best source for various vitamins and minerals. Many of us know how to eat
healthy meals, but when you are on a variety of medications and have specific physical issues, a
doctor can help you determine a customized list of good and bad foods for you and also
recommend optimal amounts and preparation methods. It is also possible that certain foods
should be taken at a particular time of day or paired with a particular food to be effective.
In general, RA patients want to eat foods that counteract bone loss, curb inflammation, and
support healthy cell growth. Look for foods that contain Folic Acid, Calcium and vitamin D,
Omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C:
• salmon, tuna
• walnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed
• canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado
• tofu, soy
• sweet peppers, citrus fruit, broccoli
• green salad
• low-fat dairy
• green tea
• Supplements if doctor agrees
There are a few foods to avoid as well:
• sunflower safflower, corn, and soybean oils (all are common in snack foods)
• alcohol (it cannot be consumed if you take methotrexate)
Get Support From Others
Having a harsh chronic ailment like Rheumatoid Arthritis is not easy on any level. Exhaustion,
pain, increasing immobility and the idea of being a long term patient is discouraging. It can be
depressing as well, and your emotional and mental well being can easily be at risk.
Do not go it alone. Ask for help. Get support from others who walk in your shoes. Talk to your
doctor about your feelings,and if your doctor quickly gives you another pill without offering
other ideas,do not hesitate to ask about other options so that you are fully informed. Managing
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a challenge for both your body and your mind. Keep your mind in the
game and learn how to fight hard with the help of others.
Amazon products for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects
Amazon Price: $10.72
List Price: $12.95
Imak Arthritis Gloves Large (Pack of 2)
Amazon Price: $19.82
List Price: $32.97
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
Amazon Price: $9.85
List Price: $20.95
Conquering Arthritis: What Doctors Don't Tell You Because They Don't Know
Amazon Price: $20.99
List Price: $34.95